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This obnoxious little serial-killer epic features Diane Lane and Colin Hanks (Tom's son) as FBI agents trying to find a creep who's trained a Webcam on people he's torturing. Media reports fuel a frenzy — and the more hits the creep gets on his Web site, the quicker the acid drips, or the hotter the heat lamps burn.

We're meant to be as appalled as the FBI agents are at the public's appetite for sadism, while simultaneously feeling implicated for having attended a movie that exploits that appetite with wide-screen images of blistering skin and dissolving flesh.

That sounds double-edged, but it isn't really; despite reasonably taut direction from Gregory Hoblit, Untraceable registers as little more than standard-issue torture porn – Saw 17 with a classier cast.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.
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